Call centers have more frequent interactions with customers than any other role in a company. Their constant communication such as resolving a complaint, taking an order or renewing a warranty, are pivotal in accomplishing strategic business objectives.
Over the past few years, the call center has evolved into a primary customer service channel. Therefore, the agent role has become more sophisticated along with the software that manages and supports it. Today, there are many growing trends in the call center industry that are shaping a call center’s future place in the technology world. As we begin to wrap up 2012, we are starting to wonder what 2013 will hold for the call center and customer service industry.
TELUS (News - Alert) International, a business process outsourcing (BPO) provider delivering contact center and IT outsourcing services to industries of all types, shared some of its intuitive 2013 call center industry predictions with TMCnet recently. TELUS distinguishes itself from competitors with its ability to serve the needs of today’s customer experience innovators, so it makes the company fit to generate predictions for what the industry can expect to see come the New Year.
Michael Ringman, VP of Information Technology, TELUS has identified key aspects of the call center that will drive its further growth in 2013. He sees cloud services, big data, IT, video, and telecommuting as areas that will improve call center services in the New Year.
The adoption of the cloud will continue as the technology becomes more mainstream, mature, advantageous and cost-effective, which includes call centers and BPOs moving services to the cloud. Additionally, Ringman expects to see the sophistication of metrics and the use of unstructured data to provide better business intelligence with data being increasingly collected in real-time. Also, he predicts that IT will get more ‘customer-centric.’ Companies will focus more on experience metrics such as customer satisfaction.
Moreover, using video as a customer service tool will increase as having face-to-face conversations adds a new level of personalization. In addition, as remote working becomes ‘the norm’, there is added pressure on IT to support new work environments including BYOD to work schemes.
When it comes to retail customer service, Al Rose, VP of Retail and Internet Properties, TELUS, predicts some drastic change including agents with more responsibility, increase in online offers as well customer service channel preference.
Retailers will focus on creating “super” agents that are trained to manage customer care, sales and tailored advice, according to Rose. Additionally, retailers will need to align their online and in-store offering due to the fact that for many, these functions work in silos and the inconsistencies frustrate customers. And, call centers can expect a rise in the number of inquiries via chat, social media and mobile applications. Rose predicts that the use of e-mail will decline as responses are slower and it’s a less desired communications channel for the tech-savvy shopper.
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Edited by Jamie Epstein